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Full text of "Address of the Right Reverend Joseph Blount Cheshire on the occasion of the dedication of the memorial vestibule in Christ Church, Raleigh : to the glory of God and in memory of Richard Henry Lewis, on December eighteenth, 1927"

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Bishop Joseph Blount Cheshire 






Digitized by tlie Internet Archive 
in 2014 


Richard Henry Lewis 
1850- 1925 

Let your moderation he known unto all men, the Lord is at 
hand! Philippians iv:5. 

The exhortation of the Text is to moderation: "Let 
your moderation be known unto all men." It is en- 
forced by the Advent warning: "The Lord is at hand!" 

1. The word here given as "moderation" is variously 
rendered. The Revised Version gives "forbearance." 
"Let your forbearance be known unto all men." In 
other places, (I Tim. iii — patient; Titus iii:2; James 
iii:17: I Peter ii:18 — gentle) our authorized Version 
uses other words to translate the word here rendered 
"moderation." Yet the phrase in the text is not an 
unapt rendering of the Apostle's meaning. In all 
these varieties of expression the same idea is evident. 
They all imply a degree of constraint voluntarily im- 
posed upon ourselves, whereby we become mild, com- 
pliant, adaptive, so to speak, to the persons or the cir- 
cumstances of our environment. There is implied an 
element of self-restraint with reference to the obliga- 
tions of duty, and also a kindly compliance with the 
feelings and the interests of others. It is the triumph 
of love over self. It is that subjugation of temper, that 
restraint of passion, that consideration for the feelings 


and rights of others, that gentleness in the whole char- 
acter and courtesy in the whole deportment, which, 
when habitual and spontaneous, speaks the conquest 
over self and the presence of God's goodness in our 

2. This quality, which St. Paul here has in mind, is 
the perfection of Christian Character from one point 
of view. This happy discipline of the heart, this sub- 
jecting of ourselves to the law of love, this moderation, 
forbearance, gentleness, is the perfecting in us of the 
work of grace. All good in us comes out of this root 
of self -conquest, self-conquest in the light of our rela- 
tions to God and to man. Christianity exalts man to the 
highest state possible to any created being. It exhibits 
him as made in the image of God, inspired by the Spirit 
of God, endued with immortality, and dignified with 
moral freedom. But it shows him as possessing all 
these wonderful gifts and privileges, in order that he 
may increase the glory of God, by submitting them 
all to Him, and choosing to make himself a mirror for 
the reflection of the divine perfections. Having the 
power to depart from his heavenly Father, to forget 
his true nature, and to follow the proud suggestions 
of petulant and selfish impulses, he voluntarily chooses 
the path of submission, of obedience, of humility, of 
love; because he perceives in these that true harmony 
of nature, whereby renouncing self he finds his true 
self in the bosom of his Father. 

3. This moderation must be "known unto all men!" 
This does not mean that we should seek to display our 
virtues; nor does it mean that we should too much re- 


gard the judgments of men. The inspiration of the 
Christian has a deeper source, one not disturbed by 
fleeting human conditions. But the text shows us that 
our hfe is not an isolated hfe, even in this evil world; 
nor is it independent in its issues of those with whom 
we are associated. The Christian Hfe has its source 
and origin in God, but its issues are in all varieties of 
human experience. And it must prove itself and give 
the final evidence of its reality, in the character which 
we develop in our intercourse with men. The Christian 
must not only subdue his will to the obedience of God, 
submit himself to the divine authority, but he must be 
known among men by his moderation, his forbearance, 
his gentleness, his compliance with the ignorance, the 
weakness, the failings of his brothers: so long as such 
compliance does not encourage them in their evil ways, 
and especially as this noble humility in him may be made 
the means of helping them, and furthering love and 
confidence and peace among men. 

This seemingly simple duty of moderation is a real 
test of character, a severer test than at first it might 
seem. It is not easy to attain to this self-control and 
steady poise, which shall stand the test of daily life in 
our intercourse with all men. Yet all its value lies in 
its reality. Mere external gentleness and compliance 
may proceed from weakness, from indifference, or from 
softness of moral fiber, from having no very strong 
principles or convictions ourselves, no masterful quali- 
ties of character or powerful impulses or motives, im- 
pelling us to act a masterful and influential part in life : 
weak and feeble ourselves and therefore compliant, be- 


cause weak. The moderation spoken of by St. Paul 
is the self-conquest of a strong and earnest nature, 
which sees the truth and which for itself seeks and pur- 
sues the noblest ends by the best means, and from the 
highest motives rejects the base and the evil; yet does 
not thereby become proud and hard and intolerant; 
but is gentle, forbearing, charitable towards all, wilHng 
to see good in all, even in the worst, so that the little 
good may be helped in its effort to overcome the evil, 
and to bring all to its own goodness. So far is the ex- 
planation of the text. 

We have just joined in a very brief and simple serv- 
ice, commemorating a noble life, which for forty years 
was associated with this Parish, its Senior Warden for 
almost all those years; and, I make bold to say, the 
dominant influence in the life of this congregation. 
Your Rector has asked me to say something of him 
in connection with this service. In thinking over the 
appointed services for this particular Sunday, the 
Fourth Sunday in Advent, the words of the text, being 
part of the Epistle for the day, occurred to my mind, 
as being peculiarly illustrated in the life of him whom 
we have now in mind. Dr. Richard Henry Lewis ; and 
then I recalled an exposition of the text in a sermon 
written thirty-nine years ago. And I have copied the 
foregoing exposition out of that old sermon. Therein, 
it seems to me, I have given you his character in its cen- 
tral and dominating quality. He had that noble, evan- 
gelical Moderation which I have been endeavoring to 
set before you as, in a manner, the test and the consum- 


mate flower of Christian character, looked at from one 
point of view. As I deduced that character from the 
words of the Apostle — so he set forth that character, 
modestly, unconsciously, but distinctly, in his simple, 
unaffected, earnest Christian life. 

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 
But sometimes, as now, the abundance of the heart seems 
to make adequate speech difficult. If in speaking of 
him I speak somewhat also of myself, you must par- 
don me. We were very near to each other for much 
the greater part of our lives. I may almost use Mil- 
ton's beautiful figures in speaking of a dear departed 
friend of his youth: 

" 'For we were nursed upon the self -same hill. 
Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill. 
Together both, ere the high lawns appeared 
Under the opening eyelids of the morn. 
We drove afield.' " 

We were born within a few weeks of each other : our 
parents were friends: our personal intimacy began in 
our eighth year: and endured without the shadow of 
a shade between us while life lasted. At Sunday 
school and day-school we were classmates. He was 
always the better scholar, though I think he was hardly 
conscious of it. There were no ups and downs in his 
progress. He was always the same — always uncon- 
sciously the ablest and the best. This one and that 
one, at times, might seem to surpass him. It gave him 
no concern. He had no craving to surpass others; so 
far as I could judge, less than any man of real ability 


whom I have ever known. Yet somehow it seemed 
just in the order of things that he should always be the 
best. It was so from his boyhood. He did not choose 
his friends among the most eminent of his associates. 
He was free with his friendship to the plainest and 
most inconspicuous; but the most eminent recognized 
him for what he was, and desired and enjoyed his com- 
panionship. So far as I could observe, he never showed 
any desire for position, to be first, to lead, to dominate. 
By a sort of moral and intellectual gravitation, his place 
was at the top, when the elements in any human aggre- 
gation, of which he was a member, found their relative 
positions. I believe he had no more intimate friend 
at any period of his life than I was ; and so far as I can 
recall, I never knew him to want any honor for him- 
self ; and though one of the most honored and admired, 
and by universal consent, one of the most useful citi- 
zens of the State, called to many positions of honor in 
his profession, and of important civic labor and re- 
sponsibility, I believe he never in his life held any re- 
munerative position or office. 

But let us come a little nearer home. I will venture 
to say a word as to his religious character and senti- 
ments. And in doing so, I shall feel bound to respect 
the fine humility and reserve which was part of him, 
as of all strong and reverent natures. Nothing was 
more foreign to his feelings than the cheap and shallow 
display of religious sentiments. 

He grew up in the Church of his fathers, under the 
care of a noble, godly mother, his father, a man of high 


character and ability, having died before he was seven 
years old. His life was always clean, upright, upon 
the highest level of social and moral excellence, and in 
habitual attendance upon the worship of the Church. 
But it was not until his first great sorrow and bereave- 
ment that he felt the inward power and reality of the 
Christian Faith in which he had been brought up. Then 
indeed it became to him by an inward experience the 
truth and the power of God. Up to that time, he had 
led an exemplary life in all outward aspects: from this 
time he realized deeply his individual responsibility — 
not only for his personal life, but for the work of God 
and of God's Church. 

At once his value was recognized, and he was called 
into the service of Parish and of Diocese, a service 
which he never refused. His name appears at almost 
every Convention of the Diocese until his last illness 
brought final disability. 

Soon after accepting an election on the Vestry, he 
was made Senior Warden, and continued such to the 
end. And having become the highest lay-ofiicial in the 
Parish he made his influence felt at once. This Parish 
had inherited a system of ownership of pews — which, 
however it may have been thought advantageous in 
1846, was a crushing burden in 1886. This was gen- 
erally felt to be so, but it seemed a hopeless task to at- 
tempt its abolition. But Dr. Lewis saw that it was a 
hindrance to the Church, and he set about to remedy it. 
That the pews of this church are now free is entirely 
due to his courage and tact, and to the wise and kind 


"moderation" by which he effected that necessary revo- 
lution in the parish life. 

But I cannot pursue the subject. You know what 
a great development has been experienced in this Parish 
during the last twenty years. Much of it must be 
credited to the zeal and ability of your present Rector. 
He will be the first to say how his Senior Warden was 
his strong right hand in what he has accomplished ; and 
I think he will agree with me when I say that his work 
could not have been what it has been, but for the funda- 
mental reform effected by the exertions of his Senior 
Warden before he came into the Parish. 

As he thus left the strong impress of his life upon 
the Parish, so in some degree did he in all departments 
of church work within his sphere. In any great and 
important work undertaken by the Diocese his name 
was one of the first depended on for loyal support and 
wise direction. By his loving sympathy, and by pru- 
dent and sagacious counsel, he aided and sustained his 
Bishop. During all the later years of his life he stood 
pre-eminent among the devoted laymen of the Diocese. 
His generous heart and liberal hand were fully known 
only to those who were unavoidably associated with the 
objects of his bounty. He was one of the not too nu- 
merous class who give systematically in proportion to 
their means. 

He was eminently in his time a man of science. 
He was not a servant of science, nor a devotee of 
science, nor a dupe of science. He was a man of 
science. He was master of what he knew. With 

[ 12] 

him man was before science. He saw with his 
clear intellect that science, which is the eccact knowl- 
edge of things as they are, can tell us nothing of 
what was before, or of what shall come after this pres- 
ent material order. It can know no more of spiritual 
things than a blind man knows of color — indeed not so 
much. And he knew that there are vast tracts of hu- 
man thought and experience, sources of power and of 
inspiration, which science cannot explore. Man's 
deepest feelings, and highest aspirations, and noblest 
achievements in life, have been associated with motives, 
and sustained by a faith, which escape the keenest 
analysis of science. No material universe with all its 
wonder and beauty and power can satisfy the spirit, 
the heart, and the conscience of man. He knew all 
this. His mind was great enough and strong enough 
to realize its own limitations. In Christ our Master 
he found that which met his need, and gave him peace, 
confidence, the assurance of hope. He was singularly 
indifferent to theological notions and refinements. But 
he accepted Christ as his Lord and Master, and he 
gave to Him his firm and unswerving allegiance. That 
was his habitual attitude of mind and of heart. On 
that he stood! 

It was a happy thought that has made his memorial 
the entrance to the church, which he loved so well and 
served so long. Of unblemished integrity himself, and 
with a high and strict sense of truth and duty, he was 
most charitable in his judgments and wide in his sym- 
pathy. He saw the image of his Master in all his 
brethren. There was nothing repulsive or forbidding 

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in his religion. Rather, it attracted and invited men to 
be like him. Nothing would have been more pleasing 
to him than to know that we should make his memorial 
the Vestibule of Christ Church, with its open door, 
saying to all that pass by, "Let him that is athirst come. 
And whosoever will, let him take the water of life 
freely." It was he who had made this church free to 
all: who then, but he, should have the honor of inviting 
all into the church which he made free for them?